Site Records

Site Name: Lincolnshire County & Lincoln District Emergency Centre

Fire Brigade Headquarters
South Park Avenue

RSG site visit 3rd January 2002

[Source: Nick Catford]

This joint Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire District Emergency Centre was one of the last to be built with protected accommodation. Although building work was commissioned before the end of the cold war, the centre wasn't officially opened until the 25th August 1992. It is entirely above ground consisting of a roughly rectangular concrete blockhouse faced in brick alongside and linked to Lincoln Fire Brigade Headquarters in South Park Avenue, Lincoln.

Photo: External viewPhoto: External viewPhoto: External view
Photo: External view
Photo by Nick Catford

The entrance is at the rear and the back quarter of the building is not protected, housing toilets, showers, generator and a lecture room. There's spine corridor linking directly with Fire Brigade Headquarters and main reception. There is also an unprotected upper floor uses as offices. On the opposite side of the spine corridor is the single doorway into the bunker. The original blast door has now been removed to allow wheelchair access into this unusually large emergency centre with 29 rooms (including store rooms).

The centre is fully operational and can be manned in any major county or district emergency. Regular exercises are held there but it is also used for fire brigade training with four of the rooms doubling up as lecture rooms. The room description is as the centre is used now with some room uses having changed since it was opened in 1992. The decontamination area, toilets, scientific advisors room, liaison rooms and dormitories have all gone and the rooms are now put to other uses, the rest of the rooms probably still serve their original purpose.

The entrance doorway accesses a short corridor which comes to a 'T' junction, to the left was the control area and to the right the domestic area and plant. Being a complex room layout this text should be read with reference to the floor plan. Rooms in this side of the bunker are Lecture Room 4 (probably formerly the County Liaison Room), two control rooms (one County and one District), two small Controllers Rooms, ECN Room, Emergency Planning Administration Room, Information Services Room (probably formerly the Scientific Advisors Room), Radio Room and Media Room.

Plan Drawn by Paul Whippey
Plan drawn by Paul Whippey

The County Control Room is the largest in the bunker, doubling up as the main Lecture Room (1) and is set out with seating as a lecture theatre with revolving white boards a large video screen and lectern. When required as an emergency centre it has pull down phone points with maps and resources boards around the walls with curtains pulled across them. Four rooms are accessed directly from the control room, the smaller District Control Room (now Lecture Room 2), the small County Controllers Room (doubling as Syndicate Room 1), the Information Systems Training Room and the Emergency Planning Administration Room, originally the Counter Room which has a number of computer terminals and a 1:50,000 county map.

The Counter Room gives access to three rooms, the Radio Room, Media Room and the ECN Room. The ECN Room used to be called the Telephone Room and houses the County SX2000 ECN unit and its control cabinet; there is another 1:50,000 county map on the wall. There is also a freezer and microwave full of frozen ready meals for distribution at rest centres. This might seem a strange location for a freezer but we were informed that if it was in the kitchen the meals would be eaten! The District Controllers Room (also Syndicate Room 2) is accessed from the District Control Room.

The radio room has another 1:50,000 county map and 5 radio transceivers, these would be manned by members of RAYNET during an emergency. The media room has another 1:50,000 county maps marked with red dots denoting flood warning sirens around the coast with a further 12 still located inland. There is a large UK wall map and a Lincolnshire coastal navigation map.

The largest room in the domestic side of the bunker is the combined kitchen and canteen. The kitchen has a long 'L' shaped preparation surface and a counter. There are two sinks, dish washer, fridge, freezer, microwave and a water cooler. On the far side a door leads through to the short front corridor, to the right were the dormitories now used as lecture rooms and straight ahead one of two emergency exits. The original steel and concrete blast door remains in place opening into the air exhaust room, a second heavy wooden door leads out of the building. To the left is the former District Liaison Room, now used to store fire brigade band instruments.

Photo: Air handling plant and stand by generator
Photo: Air handling plant and stand by generator
Photo by Nick Catford

The plant area consists of 4 rooms, ventilation plant, generator and two air intake rooms; there is also an external sub-station not accessed from within the bunker. The ventilation plant has a large bar allowing three or four people to operate the air handling system manually in the event of a power failure. This is a modern version of the fixed bicycles often used for this purpose during the war (and still used at the emergency centre in Inverness)

The generator room contains a Dale Generator with a Perkins engine and associated electrical control equipment and switchgear. Various emergency stores are kept in the plant area including kettles, billy cans and hot water dispensers. There are also 8 electric sirens stacked on the floor. At the back of the generator room is the second emergency exit consisting of another heavy blast door leading directly outside.

Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford, Keith Ward Dan McKenzie, and Dan McKenzie.

[Source: Nick Catford]

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